Sheffield United: The theory about promotion defender says is definitely true

Sheffield United’s squad, not their starting eleven, will decide whether the club wins promotion this season, one of its most senior members has reminded ahead of Friday’s match against Reading.

Monday, 11th April 2022, 3:10 pm

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Charting United’s journey through a season which has seen them suffer an unprecedented number of injuries, Enda Stevens insisted the fact Paul Heckingbottom’s side remains in play-off contention proves the validity of his theory.

The Republic of Ireland international told The Star: “Every single one of us, every lad in the group, is going to have a big role. Everyone has already done that, it’s why we’ve got into this position.

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“It’s not just about the boys who are actually out there on the pitch in a game. It’s about all of us. If it wasn’t, there’s no way we’d be where we are.”

Having only just returned to action following a near three month absence himself, Stevens added: “In a way, although we’d rather it had been different, what’s happened has brought everyone together even more. It’s been incredible, not only the injuries but also watching everyone pushing each other on and people, when they haven’t been involved on a game day, making sure the ones who are are ready and got everything they need to go out there and perform.

“That’s what I was doing and it’s what others have been doing too.”

Enda Stevens says everyone at Sheffield United has a part to play: Simon Bellis / Sportimage

United began their preparations for this week’s game sixth in the Championship with five fixtures remaining.

With Rhys Norrington-Davies impressing in Stevens’ absence, Heckingbottom admitted he can now make selection decisions based on tactics rather than simply who is available.

“I’m fit, but sharpness is something different,” Stevens said. “You only get certain things by actually playing games. It was one of the longest, if not the longest, spell I’ve had out. Because it was more of a niggle rather than an injury, it was just a case of waiting which in a sense made things even more frustrating.”

Sheffield United defender Rhys Norrington Davies (right): Andrew Yates / Sportimage

“It’s been brilliant to watch Rhys grow from the beginning of the season and he’s got so many attributes to go on and become a top player,” Stevens added. “We’ll be pushing each other, helping each other, all the way.”